New York: Want to remove the bad mouth odour after a dish loaded on garlic? Try eating yoghurt, particularly Greek yoghurt, immediately after having garlic, said researchers including one of an Indian-origin.
The lab-based study showed that whole milk plain yoghurt prevented almost all of the volatile compounds responsible for garlic's pungent scent from escaping into the air.
"With apples, we have always said to eat them (garlic) immediately. The same with yoghurt is presumed to be the case -- have your garlic and eat the yoghurt right away," Sheryl Barringer, Professor of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University in the US.
The researchers tested the garlic deodorising capacity of yoghurt and its individual components of water, fat and protein to see how each stood up to the stink.
The results, published in the journal Molecules, showed that yoghurt alone reduced 99 per cent of the major odour-producing raw garlic volatiles. When introduced separately, the fat, water and protein components of yoghurt also had a deodorising effect on raw garlic, but fat and protein performed better than water.
In the case of fat, a higher quantity of butter fat was more effective at deodorisation. This led Barringer and first author Manpreet Kaur, a doctoral student from the varsity, to suggest high-protein foods may one day be formulated specifically to fight garlic breath.
The proteins studied included different forms of whey, casein and milk proteins, all of which were effective at deodorising garlic -- likely because of their ability to trap the volatile molecules before they were emitted into the air.
A casein micelle-whey protein complex performed the best.
"We know proteins bind flavour -- a lot of times that's considered a negative, especially if a food with high protein has less flavour. In this case, it could be a positive," Barringer said.
Additional experiments involving changing the pH of the yoghurt to make it less acidic -- from 4.4 pH to 7 pH -- reduced the yoghurt's deodorisation effect on the garlic.
Barringer and Kaur also discovered that frying garlic alone significantly reduces most of garlic's odour-causing volatile compounds. The findings are a good foundation for future studies analysing a variety of proteins that might be formulated into the perfect garlic-breath-reducing product and seeking to verify yoghurt's ability to curb actual garlic breath in people.
In the meantime, Barringer predicts that Greek yoghurt, with a higher-protein profile than the whole milk plain yoghurt used in the study, may be particularly effective at getting rid of garlic breath.
Fruit-flavoured yoghurts will probably work, too, she said -- and whatever is used, it must quickly follow ingestion of raw garlic.